May 24, 2023, Durham, NC – iRT welcomes two new public health summer interns to iRT’s team of world-renowned scientists and creative professionals. Kylia Ahuna and Micaela Brewington bring a wealth of experience to iRT as the newest members of the Community College Health Study team.

While community college students make up nearly half of all U.S. undergraduates, they are often overlooked by research and underserved by sexual health education resources. The Community College Health Study intends to change that. iRT’s team has recruited over 2,000 students in collaboration with 30 colleges across the U.S. to better understand the sexual and relationship health needs of community college students and how to provide the resources they need to thrive.

Ahuna and Brewington will assist with collating study findings into highly accessible and informative tools to communicate study findings to key community stakeholders, including upper lever administrators at community colleges and community college systems across the U.S. The goal of their projects will be to provide the information that these stakeholders need to strengthen sexual and relationship health promotion and sexual assault prevention efforts at community colleges.

“We are thrilled to welcome Micaela and Kylia to the Community College Health Study team,” says Dr. Reina Evans-Paulson, a Research Scientist at iRT. “Their unique and highly relevant experiences with community-based research and science writing have allowed them to hit the ground running, and we are excited to work with them to disseminate our study findings to stakeholders from community colleges across the country.”

Meet the Interns

Ahuna is a graduate student in the Department of Health Behavior in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her background in behavioral neuroscience and maternal and pediatric health research, coupled with her interest in developing and evaluating health interventions and programs, is a valuable asset to the team. In all of her work, Ahuna aims to make research more accessible to the general public.

“I joined iRT because I was interested in learning more about how iRT’s research teams develop and evaluate their health promotion programs,” Ahuna says. “In particular, I wanted to better understand how I could use my training in behavioral science, science communication, and public health to better support community health. I’m very grateful for this opportunity, and I’m excited to continue learning about the research projects at iRT.”

Brewington is also pursuing her Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She brings years of experience in health communications research in topics such as sexual relationship health, vaccination, and substance use to iRT, and she feels particularly passionate about developing and evaluating programs aimed at promoting healthy behaviors and improving health literacy.

“I am excited to be joining iRT this summer to work on the Community College Health Study and gain experience with sexual health education programs,” Brewington says. “This work combines my interests in sexual and relationship health, adolescent health, and literacy. I am also passionate about the translation of research into action, so I look forward to assisting with the dissemination of results from the study to stakeholders.”

iRT continues to value the diverse backgrounds and perspectives that public health interns bring to iRT’s team of researchers and strives to use the team’s expertise to conduct and disseminate high quality, innovative basic and applied research. If you’re interested in joining the team, peruse our list of current job openings for a position that suits you.